All posts by Brittany Paige

$1,100: Marc MacDonnell Defeats Joey Couden Heads Up for Outright Win ($119,465)

2018 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open 
Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 
Hollywood, Florida
$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed

Entries: 640
Prize Pool:  $640,000
August 13-14, 2018

Champion Marc MacDonnell

After more than six hours of play  Marc MacDonnell, a professional poker player, took down the Event 21 $1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em  title. Event 21 boasted a field of 640 entries, besting last years  mark, and easily surpassing the $500,000 guarantee.

The starting field contained the usual suspects like, Chance Kornuth, Marvin Rettenmaier, Phil Hui, and TK Miles all finishing in the money. Joe Elpaaya was the bubble boy when he ran his Ace Jack into Mike Newman’s Ace King. The final 80 players took home at least $1,824 for their efforts.

It was MacDonnell however who took home the biggest piece of the $640,000 prize pool with his first place finish. He earned $119,465  as well as the prestigious Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open trophy.

MacDonnell, who finished third in this very same event last year came into the final table with the second to smallest chip stack. Joey Couden, his heads up opponent had a large lead over the other seven players.

MacDonnell said he didn’t feel any pressure to best last years third place finish ($53,349) saying “It’s just nice to make a final table, I didn’t feel any pressure really”.

When asked about 2018’s final table versus 2017’s MacDonnell said “They were pretty similar, maybe one or two better players this year. When [Brian] Altman won last year he had all of the chips.. ”

First to be eliminated was Adam Zeltser ($15,923) when pocket nines fell to the Ace Five of Couden when Couden flopped an ace. The next to go was Maria Ho ($19,981), who got right back into her hosting duties when she she couldn’t win the flip with Ace King against Paul Balzano’s pocket nines.

Balzano took out the six place finisher, Dennis Rodriguez ($24,045) when Balzano spiked a king on the turn to defeat Rodriguez’s Ace three with King Queen. It was Balzano himself who was sent to the rail next when his Ace Nine couldn’t come from behind against Couden’s Ace Queen. Balzano took home ($29,933)

After briefly holding the chip lead, James Salmon moved all in with pocket sevens and got called by Michael Graffeo’s pocket tens. Graffeo wound up with a set of tens to eliminate Salmon in fourth place ($39,008) and take the chip lead three-handed.

The lead went back and for multiple times with Graffeo, MacDonnell, and Couden battling it out. At one point Couden said “Good job guys, regardless of what happens”. The counts were relatively even at the time looking like this:

Joey Couden – 4,800,000 (48 bb)
Marc MacDonnell – 3,375,000 (34 bb)
Michael Graffeo – 4,500,000 (45 bb)

It was Graffeo who eventually fell in third place ($53,939) after being chipped down by the other two. Graffeo moved his last ten blinds in with Jack Seven of Diamonds and got snapped called by MacDonnell’s pocket aces. The aces held and it was heads up with MacDonnell and Couden having very similar stacks.

It didn’t take long for MacDonnell to take the lead, it was soon 2-1 when this pivotal hand took place. Shortly after that the final hand occurred when Couden moved all in with Ace Five and quickly got called by MacDonnell’s Ace King. The king kicker held and MacDonnell became the $1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em Champion.

The Irish poker pro, hailing from Dublin, says he keeps making the trip over seas to play here the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino  because “They look after us here, there’s good tournaments, good action, the cash games are good…” It was a great way for MacDonnell to close out the series.

Final Table Results:

1st: Marc MacDonnell – $119,465 + Trophy
2nd: Joey Couden – $83,750
3rd: Michael Graffeo – $53,939
4th: James Salmon – $39.008
5th: Paul Balzano– $29,933
6th: Dennis Rodriguez – $24,045
7th: Maria Ho – $19,981
8th: Adam Zeltser – $15,923

$1,100: Marc MacDonnell is the Event 21 Champion

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 1 of 640

Joey Couden went all in for 2,375 from the button and got called by Marc MacDonnell. Couden tabled ad5c and needed to get lucky against MacDonnell’s askh.

Couden asked the dealer for the five of hearts.

The board came ac10c8h7c and Couden called for a club. The river was the 9s and MacDonnell’s king kicker held to eliminate Couden in second place and win the trophy.

Marc MacDonnell -$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em Champion ($119,465)
Joey Couden – Eliminated in 2nd Place ($83,750)

$1,100: Marc MacDonnell Extends His Lead

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 640

Marc MacDonnell had 500,000 in front of him and Joey Couden raised to 1,300,000 from the button. MacDonnell called.

Both players checked 8s5d3h flop. The turn brought the 5s, and MacDonnell bet 750,000. Couden called.

The river was the 7d and both players checked again. MacDonnell tabled 9c7c and Couden mucked. MacDonnell now has a 2-1 chip lead over Couden.

Marc MacDonnell – 9,400,000 (75 bb)
Joey Couden – 4,325,000 (37 bb)

$1,100: Marc MacDonnell Takes the Lead

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 640

Marc MacDonnell

On a board reading 7s4d2h9c, Marc MacDonnell bets 450,000 into a pot of around 1,200,000.

Joey Couden called from the button. The river was the jh, and MacDonnell bet 1,100,000. Couden thought shortly before laying it down.

Marc MacDonnell – 7,300,000 (58 bb)
Joey Couden – 5,200,000 (42 bb)

$1,100: Michael Graffeo – 3rd Place ($53,939)

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 2 of 640

Michael Graffeo

Marc MacDonnell opened from the button and and Michael Graffeo moved all in from the small blind for 1,825,000.

MacDonnell snap called with acas. Graffeo needed a lot of help with his jd7d.

The flop came khjc4d, Graffeo paired his jack but the aces were still ahead.

The turn was the 2s and the river 9d made it official with Graffeo being eliminated in third place.

Marc MacDonnell – 6,275,000 (50 bb)
Michael Graffeo – Eliminated in 3rd Place ($53,939)

 

$1,100: Marc MacDonnell versus Michael Graffeo

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 3 of 640

Michael Graffeo opened to 250,000 from the button and Marc MacDonnell defended his big blind.

Both players checked the 10h4s2h flop, the turn brought the 6h and MacDonnell bet 375,000. Graffeo called.

Both players checked the qh on the river, and MacDonnell turned over kh3h saying “nice river”

Marc MacDonnell – 4,100,000 (33 bb)
Michael Graffeo – 2,000,000 (16 bb)

$1,100: Joey Couden Gets Paid Off

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 3 of 640

Joey Couden completed the small blind and Marc MacDonnell raised to 375,000 from the big blind. Couden called.

Both players checked the 10h6s3d flop. The turn brought the 3h, Couden bet 350,000 and MacDonnell called.

The river was the 8s, and Couden led out 1,150,000. MacDonnell thought a while before making the call.

Couden tabled kc3c and MacDonnell mucked.

Joey Couden – 6,500,000 (52 bb)
Marc MacDonnell – 3,425,000 (27 bb)

$1,100: Joey Couden Retakes the Chip Lead

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 3 of 640

Joey Couden

At the start of the had Joey Couden said “Good job guys, regardless of what happens.”

Couden opened to 275,000 from the button and Marc MacDonnell called from the small blind.

The flop came 10h10c3s, MacDonnell checked and Couden bet 275,000. MacDonnell raised to 600,000 and Couden called.

The turn brought the 4d, MacDonnell checked and Couden bet 425,000. MacDonnell snap folded and Couden raked in the pot taking the chip lead.

Joey Couden – 4,900,000 (39 bb)
Marc MacDonnell – 4,500,000 (36 bb)

$1,100: Marc MacDonnell Takes the Chip Lead

$1,100 Big 4 No Limit Hold’em (Re-Entry)
$500,000 Guaranteed | Payouts | Live Stream
Level 30: 75,000/125,000 with a 125,000 ante
Players Remaining: 3 of 640

Marc MacDonnell

Marc MacDonnell opened to 375,000 from the small blind and Michael Graffeo called from the big blind.

The flop came ah6c3s, MacDonnell bet 275,000 and Graffeo called.

Both players checked the 5d on the turn. The river was the 10h, MacDonnell bet 1,000,000 and Graffeo called.

MacDonnell tabled the winning ad10d for two-pair and Graffeo mucked.

Marc MacDonnell – 5,200,000 (42 bb)
Michael Graffeo – 3,100,000 (25 bb)